A sunset engagement shoot that's going to inspire you

We love engagement shoots. Why?

  • Because ... They announce your engagement to the world
  • You can try out a photographer to see how the shots work for you
  • The two of you can have fun and relax, there's not that wedding day pressure
  • You can use the photographs for your save the dates, your wedding stationeryYou can send them to relatives and grandparents in advance of the wedding
  • You can experiment with different looks and you can get a fabulous photograph of THAT RING
  • You can wear different clothes
  • You can visit a place that's special to you both
  • You'll have the photographs to look at to remind you what it's all about, when you're feeling snowed under by wedding planning
  • You can put your dog in the photos if you want
  • Nobody is around to tell you what to do - it's just you, your partner and the photographer
  • You can try out different venues to see how they work for you

And so the list goes on. We picked out this engagement session by This Modern Romance because we thought it was the stuff dreams were made of. It's beautifully lit. There's a golden glow in the field - these photographs were taken at the perfect time of day (which is something to discuss with your photographer). We love the lighting, the couple - who obviously adore one another's company. The girl's dress is inspired - rustic and simple to reflect the surroundings of nature. The shots are simple and gorgeous and really show the love of this couple. The golden field and the sun setting just right...sigh, perfection. If you're planning an engagement shoot, cast your mind over where might work for you. If you both love the countryside, then something rustic like this could be perfect for you both. Enjoy!


Images by This Modern Romance

How to make bridesmaid dress shopping less painful

Is it looming up on you? Are you dreading your bridesmaid dress shopping? Worrying like it's going to be like that scene out of "Bridesmaids" where the bridesmaids look really depressed and unhappy in the frocks that have been chosen for them? (Which don't suit them either.)

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Keep your girls happy and looking their best

That's really the key to everything (and the key to making sure you have some great wedding photographs).

You want to have the right people standing by your side when you say "I do" but you also want to make sure they are looking their best on your special day. It can be overwhelming to have to dress 5-10 other women let alone find your own dress for the wedding. You're going to have to deal with different personalities, different tastes, different shapes, personal styles and schedules.

So to help you on your way we've rounded up a few tips that can make all the difference in the search for the perfect bridesmaid dresses. Read on to see how you can eliminate the pain of it all and make it a smooth - rather than a bumpy ride.

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Get online

The first step in the search is to do some research online. Gather inspiration from Pinterest and look at a bridesmaid dress website like Dessy to discover what kind of color and style you may want for your bridesmaids. That way when you enter a store you won't feel overwhelmed with choices.

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Measure up

The fit of a dress can really make all the difference to the look and feel. Make the time with your bridal party to have a frock professionally measured. Even though most boutiques have their staff measure bridesmaids, they are not professional seamstresses. A seamstress or tailor will be extremely accurate and once you take the measurement to the boutique, then the staff can tell each of your girls which size they should be ordering from different brands. So you can shop confidently!

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Be An Early Bird

Start shopping for bridesmaid dresses about seven to eight months before your wedding day. This will allow plenty of time for special orders on colors or sizes and eliminate all of that unwanted last minute stress.

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Talk Money

Let's be honest here, we all know that bridesmaids dresses can add up with the rest of the cost of wedding activities for the bridal party. Be upfront with your girls about how much they are likely to spend. Even though you are not responsible for the costs it's polite to include the bridesmaids dresses in your budget when financially planning for the big day. Don't feel like it's a sensitive topic for discussion, be extremely open with your bridesmaids and you will face fewer arguments about how much money they are spending.

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All bridesmaid dresses pictured from Dessy.

Newport Beach and a sunny California wedding

It's sun and fun all the way at this Newport Beach wedding day.

Newport Beach and a sunny California wedding

Check the bridesmaid dresses

These bridesmaids look sooo happy in their frocks. And you know what? Maybe, just maybe, it's because they're wearing mis-matched bridesmaid dresses.

Well - not exactly mis-matched - the color follows a theme. It's just that this bride has obviously allowed each of her maids the opportunity to choose a style that suits their own individual figure.

So it's a halter-neck bridesmaid dress style for one. Strapless for another. And different dress lengths all the way. (You can find similar pink Bridesmaid dresses here at Dessy.)

The result? Happy, smiling images with girls that feel confident they're looking their very best.

Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, Newport Beach. This is a largely DIY wedding with some great touches for you to think about using on your own big day. Nothing over fussy or that took too much time. So see what would work for you ...

Check out these details on the photographs

  • Bridesmaid bouquets tied with lace and used as decoration at the ceremony in simple Mason jars
  • Simple dahlias, rosebuds and grasses in said bridesmaid bouquets. It doesn't have to be fussy you know
  • A DIY French fries bar, complete with mayo, ketchup, mustard. What's not to like?
  • Mason jars hung in the tree branches, complete with candles for lighting up the evening later
  • Light grey suit for the groom that worked perfectly with the pink theming
  • A old-fashioned burger van for hungry guests
  • Luggage tag guest book
  • The sunlight flowing through the images
  • Mis-matched shoes for the bridesmaids. They all got the look right but didn't have to wear anything a) uncomfortable b) that didn't suit them c) could choose their own heel heights
  • This is one bride that's really thought about her maids


Images by Jill Thomas Photography

5 ideas for easy DIY wedding table centerpieces

One surefire way of making sure that your big day is unique is by having a DIY wedding day.

Making your invitations, decorations and favors yourself means that they will personal to you. However, be realistic about the amount of time you have available to you and don't be overly ambitious. Planning a wedding can take up a lot of time and you don't want to missing out on your beauty sleep because you're up and awake in the small hours making paper flowers and printing invitations.

Mind you, there are some easy and quick ways to DIY your wedding and choosing simple table centerpieces is one of them. Here are a few ideas we've come across we think you'll like.

1. Scented rose petals in hurricane lanterns

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You can buy inexpensive glass hurricane lanterns online - we found some here on Amazon. Choose ones that are about 15cm high, so they don't dominate the table or block the guests' view. Just before the guests arrive, put in a white church candle, add a little water and sprinkle in fresh rose petals. Job done! Then light the candles.

2. Add some sparkle

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Place inexpensive colored glass chippings (you can buy different shades here on Amazon) in clear glass globes or hurricane jars, then a string of battery-operated fairy lights (buy here) on top. Add some blooms (roses work well) on top and then light up just before your guests walk in. A low cost idea that really has the wow factor.

3. Winter branches

Simple yet stunning centerpieces for Priya and Alex engagement celebration planned, styled and coordinated by us. venue @internationalofbrighton We had an amazing time planning this event. Photography by @ferndara . . . #weddinginspiration2017 #gettingmarried #weddingplanning #weddingstyling #weddingstylist #weddingstylistmelbourne #weddingdecoration #wedding2017 #weddingdecor #weddingideas #weddingcoordinator #melbournewedding #weddingplannermelbourne #weddingplanner #weddingdecoration #weddingcoordinatormelbourne #dreamwedding #instawed #instawedding #lankanweddingmelbourne #srilankanwedding #srilankanweddingmelbourne #centerpieces #weddingcenterpieces

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You can buy decorative branches in florist suppliers or online. For a rustic look choose bare bark but if you want some festive shimmer then go for branches in silver or gold. Wrap fabric around the base that ties in with your theme and then add Christmas decorations or wire on flowers.

4. No flower budget? Try this one

If your floral budget is severely limited but you still want to have fresh flowers on every table, then try this. Buy some inexpensive bud vases in different heights (charity/thrift shops are a good place to find them) and then put odd numbers on every table, filled with a single bloom. Don't choose just one type of flower - mix it up. Here the bride has used a sprig of delphinium (blue), wild grasses and statice. The trick is to always have an odd number of vases - three, five or seven. Don't worry if the vases don't match - you can mix up glass, ceramics and different colors. Experiment with what works for you.

Dreaming of #bohemian summer outdoor #wedding days! We also create custom handmade centerpieces, like this eclectic boho assortment of #vintage, hand painted & wrapped vases, #handdyed #shibori Table Runner & #calligraphed agate. . . . #indiewedding #handmadewedding #tablescape #weddingcenterpieces #bohowedding #outdoorwedding #phillyweddings #phillyweddingstyle #jerseyshorewedding #calligraphy #diywedding @alexa_granger @mlangelos 📷: @nikkiandchip

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5. For a rustic wedding

If you're having a wedding out in the countryside, then keep things simple with this simple table centerpiece idea. Place candles in clear glass hurricane lanterns, then place lengths of cut greenery alongside (eucalyptus has been used here). This works best on long, trestle-style tables with the candles arrayed down the centre.

We now have glass cylinder bases with candles for rent! #weddingrentals #weddingtable #napawedding #weddingrentals #blossomfarmvintagerentals #tahoewedding #weddingcandles #weddingcenterpieces #weddingdecor

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15 signs you're turning into a bridezilla

Okay we get it. Planning and organizing your wedding day is fabulous but can also be unbelievably stressful.

You want it to look and be just the way you always wanted - but when you have setbacks (like not being able to get the photographer you want) it's easy to lose it and start turning into that person you always swore you'd never be. A bridezilla.

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If you recognise yourself doing any of the following then you're already showing bridezilla symptoms ...

  1. You chase people up when they don't respond to your Save The Date message (and the wedding is two years away).
  2. You've asked your wedding photographer NOT to take shots of any gorgeous female guests. You are the star of the day and nobody is going to eclipse you thank you very much.
  3. You're monitoring your bridesmaids calorie/carb intake
  4. And you've set up a What's App group for your bridesmaids so that you can keep them informed of all aspects of your wedding planning. If you don't get double blue ticks you're onto them.
  5. You send your bridesmaids photographs of how you'd like them to do their hair, suggesting they grow it/cut it/color it.
  6. Your other half now glazes over/falls asleep/ leaves the room/puts on headphones whenever the word 'wedding' is mentioned.
  7. Same applies at work with colleagues. In fact every sentence you utter nowadays includes the word 'wedding' somewhere.
  8. You've chosen the wedding dresses you want for your bridesmaids and your word is law. Never mind that some of them don't suit short hemlines, frills, plunging necklines, pale pink satin, big bows ...
  9. You have a temper tantrum when your friends leave your house at 11pm because they have work the next day and they've only crafted 200 of the 2000 paper flowers you want made.
  10. You're completely obsessed by weddings on Pinterest.
  11. You have 75 wedding-themed apps on your phone.
  12. You haven't read a newspaper or novel since getting engaged. Just wedding magazines and blogs. As a result you have no idea about what is happening in the outside world.
  13. Your girlfriends seem strangely busy when you suggest meeting for a walk/coffee/lunch/movie. (Clue:you've turned very boring.)
  14. You tell your florist to try harder when she says that it will be impossible for you to have daffodils and tulips in your wedding bouquet. (It's September.)
  15. Your wedding theme colors are Tiffany blue and silver, and that includes the dress code. So you've included Pantone swatches with your wedding invitations so your guests get the exact shade you're after.

A real Lake Tahoe wedding. Is this the most beautiful setting ever?

If you're looking for a breathtaking wedding location and love nature, take a leaf out of this bride and groom's wedding book.

They had the perfect dramatic backdrop in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, getting married by the waters of Lake Tahoe.

And these wedding photographs are going to take your breath away.

Imagine being a invited guest. Long before you arrive at the venue, you'll have been gasping at the grandeur of the scenery. Rugged, romantic, unspoiled - and the photographer just loved it, creating an amazing album for the new couple.

Key wedding inspirations

Grab a coffee and take your time to browse through the images below. Here's a few things to look out for that we thought the bride and groom got completely right.

  • A delicate pink and white palette. Gentle colors that blended in with the background and added a softness to the day
  • Peonies and white hydrangeas. With the leaves of green succulents to add contrast
  • A single scented white gardenia at every place setting
  • Soft pink bridesmaid dresses in flattering designs for the bride's friends
  • Love the way the bride has chosen a day-to-night style for the bridesmaids frocks
  • Warm wraps to stay comfortable against evening chills
  • Vintage crockery with rose details
  • Decorative crown on the top of the wedding cake
  • Garlands of leaves adorning the outdoor swings
  • Choosing a historic barn as the venue

It's all very natural, very understated and very classy. These Lake Tahoe wedding photographs aren't going to look dated any time soon.


A dream for guests

Every bride and groom wants their guests to have the best time at their wedding. Somewhere like Lake Tahoe is a real destination - where your guests can enjoy some real downtime. Biking, sailing, hiking are just some of the activities on offer in the Lake Tahoe region so entertaining your friends is not going to be an issue.

Get the look

You'll find similar long bridesmaid styles at Dessy, including blush bridesmaid dresses and summer wraps.

Images by Jose Villa Photography

How to create your perfect wedding music list

Of course, you want your big day to have just the right atmosphere - and a big part of achieving this is organizing and choosing your wedding music list.

Music is a massive part of our everyday lives and is a personal self-expression tool for you and your partner on your wedding day - right from when guests begin to arrive at the ceremony through to the final dance. If you're having a traditional wedding then your music can veer towards the traditional. If it's a bit more bohemian, then you will want to choose more contemporary sounds.

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As for creating a particular mood, then music is an almost instantaneous way of doing it. It can make you feel happy, sad, nostalgic and want you to get up and dance. Think about your guests. You won't be able to appeal to everyone all of the time, but there are some time-honoured beautiful pieces of music that will make people feel happy.

So here are some music ideas for your wedding day.

As guests arrive

Have some music playing in the background as everybody starts to arrive and take their seats. Don't choose anything too loud and too strident. Remember a lot of people will probably be seeing one another again for the first time in a long while - so they will want to chat. Pachbel's Canon is a popular choice with good reason - it's classical, calm and moving and would work well for either a religious wedding ceremony or a civil service.

Signing the register and walking back down the aisle

That's it. Congratulations! You're now married and it's time for the celebrations to begin. Here's some music that we think would be just perfect for showing how you're feeling!

Don't forget that there's a difference between the reception and the ceremony. The kind of music that you would play during a ceremony, particularly if it's being held in a church, should be different than the kind of music held at a reception. Ceremony music should be much more elegant and respectful of the union of marriage while reception music is more celebratory and usually played by a DJ.

Your first dance

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Traditionally this is when the two of you can come over all misty-eyed and dance romantically together. It's always worth having a few dance lessons beforehand so you can show off some good moves (and finally learn to waltz properly).

And if you want to do something v non-traditional, we've included a version of Boom! Shake the Room! from Strictly!

Getting the party started

You want your guests to hit that dance floor running. So here are some options that will certainly do the trick. We've thrown in the perennially popular 'September' as that's one that is sure to get the oldies feet tapping, remembering their Seventies disco days!

3 popular wedding cake traditions

The wedding ceremony has many different traditions - walking down the aisle, wearing a veil, throwing a bouquet.

Your wedding cake is just one such tradition and it's interesting that many different cultures have some form of cake as part of the wedding ceremony.

3 popular wedding cake traditions

The chances are that your wedding cake is going to be on display at your reception, possibly with a table all of its own and you're likely to have a cake-cutting moment too captured on camera. You may also have spent a substantial part of your budget on a beautiful wedding cake so you'll want to show it off before it is eaten and enjoyed.

Here are a few wedding cake traditions you might like to be thinking about ...

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Save some for your first wedding anniversary

The top tier of a wedding cake is most often never cut at the wedding. Instead the bride and groom take the top tier home and freeze it. The idea is that on your one year anniversary you should defrost the remainder of the cake and eat it as a celebration for your commitment to each other! Tip: don't freeze any of the extra trimmings with your cake as they might catch freezer burn and will just take up extra space. Some couples also like to use the top tier as a christening cake for a new baby.

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The cake cutting ceremony

A number one tradition in the realm of wedding cakes, is the ceremony that comes after dinner when it's time to cut it. In a traditional ceremony the couple uses one knife together to take the first slice of cake. They then proceed to feed each other bites of cake to signify their commitment to each other. As a more contemporary tradition couples decide to surprise each other with an attack of cake to the face. The smashing cake tradition surely brings a few laughs from the guests but isn't for every bride and groom. So don't feel you have to do it - you may want to remain a bit more dignified ...

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Cake toppers

Classic wedding cakes usually picture decorative figures of the bride and groom on the top, known as cake toppers. Today we still see the traditional toppers but there are certainly a lot more options to either tie in the theme of the wedding in some way, or to play up a comedic factor. We like this silhouette idea here shown above.

A Mr and Mrs quiz

If you have an MC on your wedding day and you fancy giving your guests a bit of light entertainment to break up the speeches, then how about hosting a Mr & Mrs quiz?

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It's certain to be an ice breaker and should have many couples shrieking with laughter when the (wrong) answers come out.

Or if you don't fancy holding the quiz on your wedding day, you can do it quietly with your other half one cozy evening or take it to your batchelorette party. The questions are interchangeable - he can ask them of you too (just change he to she).

You may also have some of your own to add!

Mr & Mrs Wedding Quiz

  • Favorite pet? Dog or cat?
  • What was his first pet?
  • What would he save first in a fire?
  • What does he think is your most annoying habit?
  • What does he think is his most annoying habit?
  • Who would play him in a movie?
  • What's his favorite part of your body?
  • What did you do on your first date?
  • Where did you meet?
  • How many children would he like to have?
  • Who is his favorite female celebrity?
  • What's his favorite film?
  • What makes him cry?
  • How many times did he take his driving test?
  • What's his favorite song?
  • What's his favorite country?
  • What's his pet name for you?
  • What's his favorite food?
  • What food does he really dislike?
  • What would he like to call his sons? His daughters?
  • What were you wearing when you first met?
  • What's the best present you've ever given him?
  • What's the best present he's ever given you?
  • What would he take to a desert island (apart from you?)
  • What's his favorite TV show?
  • Who's his favorite comedian?
  • What three words would he use to describe you?
  • What three words would you use to describe him?
  • How would he like to see you dressed on your wedding day?

Tips for planning a bridal shower

Tips for planning a bridal shower

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Are you going to be a bridesmaid or the chief maid of honor? Then you better make sure that you read this post carefully!

Because one of the most important tasks that falls into bridesmaids' hands before a wedding is in fact organising the bridal shower. It's your job to throw a party that will truly wow the bride so that it becomes a memorable moment for you all to share.

It's all about the bride

Of course, you want to throw her the best-ever bridal shower there's ever been. One that will surprise and delight her. So the key point is to make it personal to her - it's all about her. Think about her personality and style. If she likes ribbons and bows, give her the by the books traditional shower of her dreams. If she thinks more along the lines of flower crowns and dreamcatchers, throw her a boho picnic in a meadow. Whatever the special day may call for, start rounding the troops and figuring out all the elements that will surely make her smile. Have some secret conversations with your bridesmaid conspirators so you can work out what she'd really like.


The theme

This is when it's time to hit Pinterest. Set up some boards (and share them with your fellow bridesmaids) and find inspiration in the things that your bride likes to do. You don't have to do anything over the top or budget-busting expensive.

If your bride is a foodie, then maybe a cookery class at the bridal shower would go down well. Or if she's into her fitness, maybe a yoga or pilates session. You could even have a wine tasting.

Less traditional and more casual is the way bridal showers are going. You don't need to have a particular theme - but you might want to have a color scheme to hang things together (like the invitations and the table settings).


The guest list

Unless you're having a surprise bridal shower, then you'll want to show the guest list to the bride beforehand. You really need to know who she wants there (and who she doesn't) - which is going to make addressing the invitations a whole lot easier.

You should also ask the bride how large she wants the bridal shower to be. Does she want it small and personal or larger and noisy! This might be the difference between having around the dinner table or renting out a large event space.

Traditional showers are all female - but your bride may want to invite some male guests. Ask her!


The invitations

If you want to follow the rules of etiquette, you should mail out the invitations a month before the date so the invitees have time to block it out in their diaries. While we love receiving a beautifully designed invitation through the mail with a stamp and handwritten envelope, the casual nature of modern showers can allow for Evites too. While registry information shouldn't be included on wedding invitations, it's allowed and almost expected on bridal shower invitations.


The celebration

Games are often a fun and engaging part of a bridal shower but don't feel you have to have them. They tend to kill conversation - so limit them to one or two. You definitely need to give guests time to mingle. The same goes for opening gifts. While it's also customary to see the bride open her gifts, you don't want it to take hours and hours. Keep the process organized. And somebody needs to be in charge of writing a list that notes who gave the bride what.

Photos by Wild Wolf Collective, Liz Banfield, Kathryn McCrary, and Cambria Grace Photography